A MYSTERY donor has stumped up £38,000 to save Lakeland walks threatened with the axe because they attract only white, middle-aged and middle class walkers.
The money means the walks, given by volunteer guides in the Lake District, will continue for another year at least.
Outraged hikers attacked the Lake District National Park Authority when it announced earlier this year that the walks would be stopped, branding the decision, "political correctness gone mad".
The authority said the 4,000 who took part annually in the walks were uniformly white, middle- aged and middle class.
Instead it wants to focus on other groups to attract more ethnic min- orities, young people and the disabled to the Lake District, in keeping with Government guidelines.
The decision on plans to axe the walks was expected at a meeting of the authority in Kendal, Cumbria yesterday.
The walks are free to the public, but the authority pays the expenses of the 300 volunteer guides - around £38,000.
Cash saved under the controversial proposal would have been used to make the Lakes more "inclusive", the authority said.
Chairman Michael Bentley told the packed public meeting a private sponsorship deal to cover the £38,000 cost of the walks this year had been agreed in principle.